Gov’t failed to report over 350,000 COVID-19 cases – Turkey’s top medical association

Turkey’s Health Ministry has excluded over 350,000 infections from its COVID-19 statistics since the beginning of the outbreak,  the country’s leading medical association said in a pandemic evaluation report published on Monday.

It is evident that over 350,000 COVID-19 cases have not been reported to the public and the real statistics place Turkey among countries with the highest number of infections per capita, the TTB said in a seven-month pandemic report.

Opposition politicians and doctors have long called for increased transparency over Ankara’s outbreak data, saying the number of coronavirus cases is much higher than official figures.

The Ministry of Health announced as of Sunday 335,533 infections since the beginning of the outbreak in the country on March 11. A total of  8,837 people have died in Turkey after contracting COVID-19.

Last week, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca acknowledged that only those who are symptomatic have been reported rather than those whose PCR tests come back positive, a practice that he said would be changed as of mid-Oct.

“If we are to add the months of May, June, July Aug., and now Oct., we see that there is a far higher number of infections than reported by the ministry,’’ Birgün newspaper cited Dr. Kayıhan Pala, a member of the TTB’s pandemic observation board, as saying. 

“This opens the door for a discussion on the number of confirmed deaths (linked to the virus),’’ Pala added.